Monday, 30 May 2011


Indefatigable. I love the way its six juxtaposed syllables spill from my mouth. Indefatigable.

I had no idea how becoming a father would affect me. 

I had no idea how I would react emotionally to Bruce.

So I wrote to him. I wrote and wrote. I still write and he's three. Thank you to my brother and his partner for buying my me first Rebound journal. I've since filled seven I think.

I wrote to Bruce not knowing if he was a boy or a girl. He got stuck with Bruce because at the time there was Bruce the concreter, Bruce Springsteen had a new album, Bruce Willis a new movie... I'm sure there were others but I can't remember now. Anyway, Bruce stuck. 

I wrote to Bruce about how scared I was. Scared that I wouldn't know what to do. Scared I wouldn't like him. Scared about some things worth being scared about and lots that weren't.

In the almost 40 months since he was born I am astounded at how I have reacted to being his father. I love him with a love I would never have thought possible. I love him with a love that must've been dormant within me, his arrival the catalyst. It's a fierce love. There's nothing - NOTHING! - I wouldn't do for him. 

I have achieved so much in the last four years - building the house, making a garden, planting a forest, running the cafe, etc, etc, etc. How? Why? Because I wanted to make things as perfect as I possibly could for him, for us.

Now that the cafe is sold I get to spend every day with him. It is the best time of my whole life. Sure there were moments when I was travelling - sparks that I can still see on my eyelids when I close my eyes tight; there was the moment of his birth; there was being at the MCG in 2000 to see Essendon win the premiership and yelling 'Norm' every time Jimmy Hird went within 10 feet of the ball. But in terms of every day being a joy, one after the other, after the other, this is it. This morning I was reading Enid Blyton's Enchanted Wood to him - the selfsame copy as my mum read to me. Jo, Fanny and Bessie were in The Rocking Land. At one point he covered his eyes and said "oh, no! I can't watch!" It was the most beautiful moment in a beautiful morning spent together.

My feelings for him are indefatigable. If we're having a difficult morning I don't care. I love him. If I am tired and have been up all night I don't care. I love him. If I have to carry him until my arms ache - he now weighs 16kg - I don't care. I love him. I couldn't have imagined that in the midst of all my fears, it was already there, just waiting for him. Love. Indefatigable love.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Five months - and in!

From the day the slab was poured to the day we moved in - 20 weeks. It was amazing. What seems even more remarkable in retrospect is that if it hadn't been for xmas and Al's knee it might've taken even less time.  I've spoken to other owner-builders who haven't finished their houses years - yes, years! - after starting...

From a paddock to a home.

The ladder suspended between the jail door and the shelves had been my grandad's. He had been a carpenter and I feel very proud that he was able to see the house before he died.

When I was in Spain I saw hand basins that drained into the toilet cistern. It seemed so simple and so ingenious. When I asked the FPU if he could rig up something like that he said he could go one better...

And then came the helper - right on time.

Now I just had to do something about the garden...

Friday, 27 May 2011

The final flurry

As January drew to a close we gave Zak's mate Evan some work and this helped Alan get back on the job. Ev was able to do the ladder climbing and things that Al couldn't do with his bung knee and the two of them worked reasonably well together.

The cafe was extraordinarily busy - taking around $10,000 a week - so there wasn't much I could contribute at this stage. But by the end of the month the house was all but finished!

Since living in the Troppo house I'd envisaged having shelf space atop the windows and Ev managed to transform some old hardwood flooring - from a shearing shed no less - into lovely, practical (apart from the height!) shelves that finished the room beautifully.

We'd also painted throughout. (Although the blue in the best little helper's room - who at this stage was still being referred to as Bruce and was three weeks away from actually arriving - was supposed to be the colour of juvenile bluegum leaves... It has since been repainted in a shade somewhat closer to what we'd intended)

The old fuse box in the hallway came from Tim - I'd admired it on one of my many trips to the Thagg but couldn't afford it. When I got home he'd stowed it beneath some old planks I'd bought that day. It now houses keys, wallets, glasses, etc. And I love it. Good man, Mr Robbins.

Almost almost almost...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Russian? No...

No, not Russian, but yes indeed I am rushing...

Boom boom!

I want to get to the present day so I can start to blog about the exciting/interesting/fun things I'm thinking and doing on the hill right now in 2011. But to post pics of the house and garden as they are now would be a spoiler of sorts... So I will persist with these all-too-regular posts as I get to the present...

We painted some walls solid colour and others got a watered down wash of the same paint to retain the wood grain. The sparkies turned up and started fitting the powerpoints, lights and fans. There was some progress on the built-in robes, but Alan was still struggling. We bit the bullet and asked a mate of Zak's who was out of work if he'd like a week or so of bitsy jobs to get things finished. We were running out of time!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Stove & heater

One warm day in the middle of January I borrowed my brother's muscles and a trolley and we wrestled the old Italian stove up onto the hill and into the house. 

Then we grabbed Andy's old heater from his house and put that into place too.